April 18

Well, it’s a rainy ol’ April day here in the North Carolina mountains. Certainly more appropriate weather for this time of year and, as we’re still on a (voluntary) water restriction, it’s needed, even if I am a bit grumpy about the loss of the warm sunshine.

Last week we were given the perfect weather to complete more outdoor projects, and we made the most of it. We built the asparagus bed I mentioned in my last post, edged some beds, added more chicken guards, planted seeds for annuals and veggies, dealt with a bit more brush and firewood, started a new flower border, checked on our beehives and did a huge cleanup of the shed donating lots of stuff to Habitat. Here are some recent snaps of the garden…

If you’re wondering what the heck is going on with all the landscape fabric, trust me when I tell you it’s going to be fine–we’ve just got a ways to go before the upper garden is where we want it to be! Once the privacy fence is installed it will start coming together. The asparagus bed was finished last week–filled with 8 wheelbarrows full of compost–and this morning there were a few spears emerging. Hooray! We’re going to build supports for the ferns this weekend.

I love a crisp edge to a border, don’t you? ‘Tuscany Superb’, brought with us as a cutting from the old garden, has really taken off in this space. You can just barely make out the tufts of leaves emerging from the many, spreading clumps. So excited to see the blooms this spring.

The chickens continue to make us smile. Some people have questioned my sanity allowing them to “free range” in our garden. I know it’s not for everyone, but we have the space, so why not? It makes us sad to think of them being literally cooped up. We just need to build little barriers to keep them out of the places we don’t want them to go–which we’re working on now. A little work on the front end for long term health and happiness. Besides, they give back so much more to us by helping with pests in the garden and fertilizing, too. 😉

I added two new roses last week: ‘Candy Cane Cocktail‘ and ‘Baronne de Rothschild’. As the buds have opened and matured, neither one has really wowed me. Not much fragrance, blooms appear messy when fully open, browning in wet weather. Blah. Maybe they’ll look nicer in summer. {EDIT: I believe that my BdeR rose was mislabeled. When comparing to both the HT and HP mine is different in both coloring (as in case of HT) and sepals/leaves (for both.) It came from Star Roses so if anyone has ideas of what it could be I’d love to hear it! Fragrance is mild to nonexistent, blooms are full and ball in wet weather.}

There are other beautiful blooms to be found, though. I want to thank the previous tenant who planted these azaleas. They bring us so much joy. Also, the early clematis have just begun to open!

Our other roses are all covered with buds–at least those that weren’t killed by the late frost we had. In about 2-3 weeks it’s going to be gorgeous. (I just love how vibrant ‘Veilchanblau’ looks against our shed, painted Farrow and Ball “Railings”)

I began work on creating a couple new flower borders to surround our courtyard garden. A hurt back (and the rain) has stopped me in my tracks so for now it looks like this. But, eventually, it will wrap around the side to be more L-shaped and I hope to fill it with annuals like cosmos and zinnias. The potting bench was moved to the back of the house. The farm fence still needs to be completed.

The bees were inspected recently to check on progress. It’s interesting to make comparisons between hives, but I’ve found it’s also easy to get carried away and start to question everything. The bad news is, we may have a queen issue in one of them which will be dealt with this week, but the good news is, the other hive is doing splendidly so far, almost filling up the first box with comb. So, the “personality” of each colony is markedly different and teaching us a lot already.

If the weather is kind to us once more, we plan on (finally!) building steps up through the rockery. What a difference that will make! Wish us luck. 🙂


12 thoughts on “April 18

  1. What kind of paper did you put down for the new off-Patio flower bed? Looks much nicer than cardboard! And no judgement on the landscape fabric, I just assume it helps keep an area from getting overwhelmed by weeds until you’re ready to work on it.

    1. Yes, that’s about the size of it! 🙂
      Paper: I used regular painter’s paper but it’s rather thin so I’m layering it. Cardboard is way better but I got so tired of hoarding the stuff I thought I’d try this, instead.

  2. That pale iris took my breath away. And, the bright pink clematis. Veilchenblau is perfect for your shed. Can’t wait to see that when it blooms. Getting ready to sow my zinnias and cosmos, too. I started peach stock in my winter sowing jugs and they’re about ready to plant out. You were looking for peach stock seed one year – did you find some? I love the funny personalities of chickens and the expressions on their faces. Yours must think they’re in chicken heaven with all the fun places to explore. You got your techy problems fixed! Such a pain!

    1. Actually I didn’t quite get the tech stuff fixed…they’re still working on it. Please do let me know if you experience any other problems! Nope, never did get my peach stock seeds this year but I’m excited for you that you have seedlings! That’s going to be so amazing. 😀 Isn’t that iris crazy beautiful? I can’t think of the name just now but I picked it up at Lowes, of all places, for $7 so it was quite a find. Yeah, chickies are in chicky heaven but they can be a handful sometimes! With our 3 cats, 1 dog, 3 chickens and 2 beehives we sometimes ask ourselves, what is wrong with our brains that we keep bringing home animals…haha! Hope you’re having a great week! <3

  3. My BdR is almost dark pink with a silvery reverse…and fragrant! My Facebook page header photo has it in it…wish I could post one here for you.
    Love your post and love the chickens! Your garden looks great!

    1. Hi Holly! Thank you for the compliment and I really appreciate you letting me know how a BdR is supposed to look. Mine was definitely not labeled correctly and I would have kept it anyways but the flowers turned to mush when it rained. Not a good rose, so I ended up returning it to the store–something I’ve never done before. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

  4. All my favorite things: North Carolina azaleas, sunlight streaming through the woods, crisp garden edges, roses, clematis and how about that pine needle mulch! Don’t you just love it? I wish I could haul it in by the truckload – it’s not available in Wisconsin. Hope you guys have a great weekend – your garden looks fantastic!

    1. I LOOOVEEE pine needle mulch. It looks so nice, stays close knit even in heavy rain, doesn’t decompose super quickly, smells so fresh to walk on and makes the perfect fuel for my beehive smoker. Admittedly, I am a bit obsessed with it. 😉 My husband is less enthusiastic, however, because when he tries to leaf blow in the fall (with us being in a forest, the leaves are out of control in autumn) all the pine needles blow away with them. So I guess that’s the one downside.
      Your garden is looking fantastic, too! I love the pics you post on IG. Your soil looks so rich…it’s easy to tell you’ve put a lot into it!

  5. The azaleas make me miss the South! I love the contrast of the variegated pinks against your bright, white house. Awesome work!

    1. Thank you Erica I really appreciate that! 🙂
      You know, I never really thought twice about azaleas until we moved here. The ones we used to see around homes in PA were always garish colors and not really part of the landscape, but you’re so right, they are really beautiful in the south!

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